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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Geens, K., Panopolis, a Nome Capital in Egypt in the Roman and Byzantine Period (ca. AD 200-600)

Karolien Geens, Panopolis, a Nome Capital in Egypt in the Roman and Byzantine Period (ca. AD 200-600)  Leuven 2014 [= Diss. Leuven 2007], xiii & 578 pp. (28.4 Mb), ISBN: 978-94-9060-409-7.

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Often a PhD thesis for some reason cannot be published immediately. In the years that follow, the authors do not find the time to revise the manuscript as they wanted. This in turn causes problems because new literature appears or the evidence of new sources needs to be incorporated. As a result, the manuscript often remains unpublished and the valuable insights risk to be inaccessible and thus lost for scholarship. To prevent this, Trismegistos Online Publications have decided to open up a new 'Special Series', where valuable PhD theses or other scholarly manuscripts can be published with an ISBN number.
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The editors will consult experts about the quality of the manuscript without taking into account whether it is abreast of the most recent scholarly literature or developments. ISBN: 978-94-9060-409-7 Leuven, September 2014, reprint of the Diss. Leuven 2007 Volume I
Acknowledgements I 

Table of contents. II

Introduction 1 

Chapter 1: Sources …14 <
1.1. Introduction …14
1.2. A survey of monuments and archaeological sites in the region of Akhmim  …15
1.2.1. The East bank
A. Akhmim
Pharaonic and Graeco-Roman remains
Late Antique remains
B. The Wadi Bir El-Aïn  

C. The area of El-Khazindariya 

1.2.2. The West bank 

A. The ancient village of “Athribis” 

B. The White and Red Monasteries  

The White Monastery Monastery 

C. Tell Edfa 

1.2.3. The cemeteries on the East and West banks 

A. The East bank .

The cemetery of El-Hawawish (A). 

a) Excavation history

b) Typology and topography of the tombs  

The cemetery of El-Madina (B) 

The cemetery of El-Salamuni (C)  

a) Excavation history

b) Topography and typology of the tombs 

The cemetery of Abu el-Nasr

B. The West bank 

The cemetery of El-Hagarsa 

The cemetery of Athribis/Tripheion 

a) Excavation history

b) Topography and typology of the tombs  

West cemetery of the White Monastery

The cemetery of Awlad Azz

C. Funerary objects from the Graeco-Roman cemeteries 



Mummy cases 

Mummy portraits

Funerary papyri 

D. Conclusion.

1.3. Documentary papyri …50

1.3.1. General features.

1.3.2. Late second and third century AD  

A. Reused papyri

B. Ostraca and isolated papyri .

1.3.3. Fourth century 

A. Archives

B. P.Berl.Bork

C. Isolated papyri 

1.3.4. Fifth and sixth centuries 

A. Archive of Aurelius Pachymios  

B. Isolated papyri

C. The archive of Flavius Dioskoros 

1.4. Literary papyri74

1.4.1. Classical literature 

1.4.2. Christian literary papyri 

A. Greek papyri 

B. Coptic papyri

1.4.3. The Panopolitan standard  

1.4.4. Provenance of literary papyri 

1.4.5. Archives

A. The Bodmer papyri  

B. The library of the White Monastery  

1.5. Mummy labels …85

1.5.1. General features: outward appearance, content and purpose  

1.5.2. Language

1.5.3. Date

1.5.4. Provenance 

A. Mummy labels with provenance indicated in the text . 

B. Mummy labels without indication of provenance  

1.6. Greek, Latin, Coptic inscriptions … 92

1.6.1. General features.

1.6.2. Dedications and records of visit 

1.6.3. Funerary inscriptions  

1.6.4. Other Christian inscriptions  V

1.6.5. The monument of Ptolemagrios .

A. Description.

B. Date .

C. Order of the poems 

1.7. Pachomius and Shenoute …100

1.7.1. Pachomius

1.7.2. Shenoute 

A. The “Vita Sinuthii”  



Historical value 

B. Shenoute’s literary corpus  


Canons and Discourses 

Historical value 

Chapter 2: A survey of the site …109

2.1. Introduction: geography and name …109

2.1.1. Geography

2.1.2. Name of the city: etymological and topographical remarks

2.2. A survey of the nome …112

2.2.1. Situation and extent 

2.2.2. Toparchies and pagi 

A. Toparchies 

B. Pagi

2.2.3. Settlements in the Panopolite nome 

2.3. A survey of the city …130

2.3.1. Streets, districts and quarters. 

2.3.2. From temple city to classical city  

A. A temple city: the temple(s?) of Min/Pan  

The pharaonic temple of Min (= place A)  

The temple of Min in the Ptolemaic/Roman period (= the birba?) 

B. Municipal public buildings  

C. Christian urbanisation 

2.3.3. Residential and occupational areas . 

2.3.4. Conclusion 

Chapter 3. Administration …143

3.1. Introduction: urban status – defining the city …143

3.2. The Roman period until the reign of Diocletian …145

3.2.1. Imperial government

3.2.2. Nome administration

3.2.3. Administration of the metropolis before the introduction of city councils

A. Magistracies (archai) 

B. The koinon of the archons  

C. Liturgies 

3.2.4. Administration of the metropolis after the introduction of city councils 

A. Administration of the councils  




B. The business of the councils 

Internal administration of the metropolis 

Responsibilities towards the central government  

C. A tribal structure. 

Amphodogrammateus, phylarchos and systates 

Appointment of the council president  

3.2.5. Toparchies

3.2.6. Village administration 

A. Komogrammateus and komarch 

B. Presbyteroi.

C. Police liturgists

3.2.7 Conclusion: local variation 

3.3. The reign of Diocletian …159

3.3.1. Imperial government 

3.3.2. Nome administration

A. Tax collection.

Reforms in tax assessment  

The census of AD 298-303 

New tax liturgists 

B. Supervision of annona militaris 

C. Other responsibilities  

3.3.3. Diocletian’s visit to the Panopolite nome: the strategos and the town council coping 

with an unusual situation 

A. The revolt of L. Domitius Domitianus 

B. Preparations for the imperial visit  

3.3.4. Conclusion: local variation

3.4. From the Tetrarchs until the reign of Constantine (AD 306-337) …177

3.4.1. Imperial government. 

3.4.2. Nome and city administration 

A. Traditional archai  

B. New municipal officials 




Praepositus pagi 

C. Police officials 

3.4.3. A new administrative structure: the pagus 

3.4.4. Village administration  

3.4.5. Conclusion: the character and function of the boulai in the fourth century 

3.5. From the reign of Constantius until the end of the fourth century …184

3.5.1. Imperial government 

3.5.2. Nome and city administration  

A. Leading officials  

Logistes vs. defensor civitatis 

Police officials

B. Decline of the council 

C. Tax reforms

The village as a tax unity  

Taxes in gold 

The vestis militaris 

3.6. The fifth and sixth centuries …189

3.6.1. Imperial government. 

3.6.2. Nome and city administration . 

A. Traditional administrative system  

B. New forms of control 

Pater tes poleos.

The role of bishops in urban politics  


C. Village administration. 

Chapter 4. Socio-economic history  …195

4.1. Social structures in the Roman period before AD 212  …195

4.1.1. Citizenship and privileged groups. 

A. Roman citizens 

B. Alexandrian citizens. 

C. Citizens of Greek cities  

D. Metropolitain

E. Gymnasial order. 

4.1.2. The distribution of wealth. 

A. Categories of land 

B. Landholding patterns . 

C. Landownership in the Panopolite nome . 

Inequality and gender

Large landowners  

4.1.3. The political elite.

4.1.4. Conclusion: Leading social groups in the first and second centuries 

4.2. Social structures in the third and early fourth centuries …206

4.2.1. The end of citizenship status and the emergence of a bouleutic class . 

4.2.2. The distribution of wealth 

A. Economic crisis 

B. Landed property. 

Land categories .

Landholding patterns .

Landownership in the Panopolite nome  

a) Land tenure

b) Work at a farm estate  

C. Non-landed property 

Immovable urban property: the evidence from P.Berl.Bork 

a) Composition of P.Berl.Bork 

b) P.Berl.Bork. as a source for the distribution of wealth 


Money lending 

4.2.3. Power and authority: the political elite. 

A. Defining the political elite . 

B. Councillors as the nucleus of the political elite  

The bouleutic class: a well-defined social group  

Composition of the councils. 

a) Number of councillors  

b) Admission procedure. 

c) Profile of a councillor . 

C. Social stratification among councillors . 

D. Bouleutic vs. non-bouleutic elite  

E. The burden of local prestige  

4.2.4. The priestly elite: the family of Aurelius Ammon, scholastikos . 

A. Ammon’s family

B. Economic power  

Temple income 

Private property .

a) Land and houses 

b) Slaves

C. An elite family .

4.2.5. Conclusion: leading social groups in the third and early fourth centuries . 

4.3. Social structures in the second half of the fourth until the sixth centuries …242

4.3.1. The distribution of wealth . 

A. Landholding in the fourth and first half of the fifth centuries . 

The end of the economic power of the bouleutic elite  

a) The burden of taxation. 

b) The flight of the bouleutic class . 

Changes in the pattern of landownership . 

Economic power in the Panopolite nome (late 4th – first half of the 5th century): the 

evidence from Shenoute

a) The White Monastery under the leadership of Shenoute . 

b) Shenoute’s criticism on corrupt landowners . 

c) Shenoute’s opponents: economic and religious considerations 

B. Mid fifth-sixth centuries: large estates and religious institutions . 

Provincial and imperial bureaucrats  

a) The Apion family .

b) Landowners from the Panopolite nome 

Religious institutions: churches and monasteries. 

a) The White Monastery. 

b) The monasteries of Zmin and Apa Zenobios 

c) The guest house of Apa Dios. 

Absentee landlords, business agents and middlemen . 

a) Business agents 

b) The rural oligarchy as middlemen: the evidence from Dioskoros of Aphrodito . 

4.3.2. Power and authority in a new Christian empire  

A. The end of the councils . 

B. New institutions of power. 

Geouchoi .

The Church hierarchy 

The provincial and imperial bureaucracy: the “Flavii”  

a) The provincial and imperial administration . 

b) The law court 

4.3.3. Literary culture and power: social mobility in Late Antiquity . 

A. Ammon and Harpokration . 

Ammon .


B. The grammarian’s authority  

An increased status .


C. “Wandering Poets”: Poetry as the pathway to a provincial/imperial career  



D. Conclusion: social mobility, geographical mobility and networking  

4.3.4.Conclusion: leading social groups in the fourth till sixth centuries . 

4.4. Occupational structures in the Roman and Byzantine period …276

4.4.1. Agriculture 

4.4.2. The urban economy 

A. Three sectors .

Agriculture .

Production and distribution  


B. Craft specialisation. 

C. Trade networks 

4.4.3. Craftsmen and traders in Panopolis . 

A. Textile industry.

Sources for textile production . 

Stages in textile production . 

a) (Purple) dyeing 

b) Weaving.

c) Finishing touches .


The role of Panopolis as textile centre . 

B. Gold smith’s trade 

C. Quarrying.

D. Shipbuilding .

Chapter 5. Cultural and religious transformations …307

5.1. Traditional Egyptian culture  …307

5.1.1. Principal divinities

A. The divine triad of Panopolis  


a) Min as fertility god. 

b) Min as lord of the mountains and the desert 

c) Min as king of the gods. 

Aperet-Isis – Isis – Triphis  


B. Horus 

C. Thot and Anubis 

D. Onomastics.

Popular names from Egypt . 

Popular names from the (Northern) Thebaid. 

Popular names from the Panopolite nome . 

5.1.2. Cult and priestly service . 

A. Priesthoods 

B. Cults 

Temples and the public 

Temple culture

5.1.3. Burial customs and funerary beliefs  

5.1.4. Conclusion.

5.2. Greek culture  …329

5.2.1. Greek civic culture: self-representation and urban identity of the bouleutic class . 

A. Building programs . 

B. Titles and epithets. 

C. Panhellenic games  

Herodotus’ account 

a) Perseus.

b) Games in a Greek fashion 

Reestablishment of the games in the third century AD . 

a) Pythian games 

b) An Olympic agon 

Reconstruction: and “invented tradition” 

5.2.2. Greek education 

A. Public education: the gymnasium  

B. Private education  

Stages of education: didaskalos, grammatikos and beyond . 

Villages vs. towns .

Literary papyri.

Ammon as a child of Panopolis  

a) Classical literature  

b) A rhetorical education. 

c) A philosophical education . 

5.2.3. Philosophy and poetry. 

A. Philosophy 

B. Poetry



5.3. Traditional Egyptian culture in a hellenised context  …354

5.3.1. Principal divinities

A. Min/Pan.

B. Other divinities 

5.3.2. Funerary art.

A. Decorated tombs. 

B. Mummy cases.

C. Mummy portraits. 

5.3.3. Language and script 

A. Demotic literature under Greek influence  

B. Language use in the Panopolite nome  

5.3.4. Onomastics

A. Metropolis vs. villages. 

B. Elite nomenclature  

5.3.5. The garden of Ptolemagrios and the temple of Pan-Phoibos. 

A. Religiously inspired euergetism  

B. The garden of Ptolemagrios: a temple garden  

C. Ptolemagrios’ generosity: the banquets of Phoibos  

D. A humble, laborious, philosophical way of life . 

E. Ptolemagrios as a benefactor . 

F. Conclusion 

5.3.6. Hellenism in the fourth and fifth centuries  

A. Fourth century - Aurelius Ammon, priest and scholastikos 

Temple service and Greek culture 

Ammon’s religion 

B. Fifth century - Flavius Horapollon: Neo-Platonic Hellenism as a vehicle for 

Egyptian paganism . 

Traditionalism temple service . 

a) Neo-Platonic ecumenism 

b) Egyptian wisdom.

c) Pagan holy men

d) The Hieroglyphica of Horapollon  

From local to Egyptian past  

5.4. Christianization …386

5.4.1. The Christian community before the reign of Constantine . 

A. Persecutions .

B. Martyr cult .

C. Parembole 

D. The Great Oasis . 

5.4.2. The Church from the reign of Constantine until the sixth century  

A. Onomastics .

B. Bishops and clergy 

Bishop’s sees .

Priests and deacons 

C. Ascetism, monasticism and monastic culture 

Hermitages .

Cenobitic monasticism: Pachomian monasteries  

a) “Invention” of cenobitism. 

b) The koinonia .

c) Pachomian monasteries in the region of Panopolis. 

d) The Pachomian monasteries in later periods  

(Semi-?) cenobitic monasticism: The monastery of Shenoute  

a) Pgol and Pschoi

b) The rise of a monastic leader . 

c) Life in and around the White Monastery 

d) The White Monastery in later periods 

Other monasteries in the region of Panopolis . 

a) The monastery of Abu el-Nasr 

b) The monastery in the Wadi bir el-Aïn . 

c) The parembole and the former temple of Min 

d) Apa Zenobios and the women’s convent. 

e) The xenodochion of Apa Dios. 

f) The monastery of Psinabla 

g) The monastery of Saint Psote (Psates). 

Monasteries after the sixth century. 

D. Christian literature. 

5.4.3. (Non-)orthodox Christians: a pluralist Christianity 

A. Patriarchs, councils and controversies between AD 300 and 451. 

Disciplinary matters .

Doctrinal matters .

a) The Arian controversy 

b) The Origenist controversy 

c) The Nestorian controversy. 

d) The Coptic Church: monophysitism 

Origenism in the Panopolite nome . 

Nestorianism in the Panopolite nome . 

B. Gnosticism and Manichaeism . 

A definition of Gnosticism  

Gnostic and Manichaean ideas in the Panopolite region . 

a) Zosimus the alchemist . 

b) Gnostic texts 

c) Shenoute against Gnosticism and Manichaeism . 

5.4.4. Encounters between pagans and Christians in Panopolis: a conflict?. 

A. Decline vs. continuity: Bagnall vs. Frankfurter. 

B. The religious balance in the first half of the fourth century  

C. The religious balance in the late fourth – early fifth century  

Anti-pagan imperial legislation 

Shenoute’s actions against public temples 

a) The temple of Atripe . 

b) The temple of Plevit 

c) Reuse of pagan temples. 

Shenoute’s actions against private shrines  

a) Shenoute and Gessios . 

b) Shenoute and the pagans of an unknown village 

Shenoute’s invectives against pagan gods  

Shenoute’s invectives against Greek culture. 

Christian – pagan balance: an evaluation of Shenoute’s writings . 

a) A world full of temples and pagans? 

b) Crypto-paganism 

c) A religious and socio-economic conflict

D. Conclusion: Panopolis as a hotbed of religious conflict?. 

Pagan religion.

Pagan practices 

5.4.5. Greek culture in a Christian context  

A. Traditional education .

B. Greek culture in Christian Panopolis 



Conclusion … 465

Volume II

Bibliography … 2 

Appendices … 79